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Eight By Ten Club; Baltimore, MD: 12/04/99

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Day Two of the Recoil Fest '99 was an all day extravaganza of metal and hardcore. There's not too many times you'll have an opportunity to see ten local bands in the spirit of celebrating the vibrancy of their music scene - I would have been foolish to let this opportunity pass by.

Tortured took to the stage first with their brand of thrashy death metal with choppy hip-hop vocals contrasted with death metal growls. A fair comparison would be early Fear Factory without the industrial edge.  This young group has been around since 1996 and playing live since early 1998.

Destruction 33 bravely started their set with the vocalist nowhere to be found. Have no fear, though, as the vocalist arrived in time to begin their set in earnest. Destruction 33 was very rhythm conscious throughout - at times the musical rhythms reminded me of "Rust In Peace" era Megadeth. An inspired and nearly violent mosh pit proved that fan interaction is necessary to make a show complete.

Age Of Ruin, unafraid to display a bit of theatrics, played a short yet quite memorable set. Age Of Ruin played tracks from their demo which combines the intensity of death metal, the grand overtures of doom, and pent-up aggression of hardcore. Age Of Ruin have begun to realize their potential - it is with great anticipation that Rough Edge awaits to hear their full-length CD which should be available soon. 

Hell To Pay rocked hard with their hardcore/oi! sound. Karl Core and the gang blasted through a quick, but energetic set that was cathartic as well as draining. Hell To Pay did lighten up, if only for a few minutes, as the "Beer Song" was perfectly timed comic relief. 

Dysphoria, a new school hardcore outfit from Pennsylvania, was another band eagerly anticipated by the audience. Dysphoria has attracted a dedicated following up and down the East Coast and it's not hard to see why. With a huge groove-oriented hardcore sound with a slight flavor of metal riffing, Dysphoria have brought very positive messages to the hardcore scene.

Apathy, probably the youngest band on the bill, proved to be a pleasant surprise. Straight-forward hardcore dominated their sound, but touches of metal a la Ultraspank and even cues from bands rap-core bands like Candiria could be heard. 

Darkest Hour was a high-voltage rampage. Once a hardcore band, Darkest Hour is making a move toward a more melodic sound with great results. Everything in the set was solid as the band captured hardcore's relentless energy with a mature sense of dynamics - I have no reservations whatsoever recommending this band to Rough Edge readers. A new record deal is in the works - new material will be on the way. In one of the evening's humorous moments, Darkest Hour made a playful challenge to Hell To Pay for "D.C.'s most hated" title.  

E-Town Concrete clearly won honors for having the most popular reaction and widest fan appeal. E-Town Concrete's rap-core sound has gained many fans in the Baltimore area and this performance was no exception. What few people in the audience that hadn't heard E-Town Concrete surely walked away from this concert unable to forget this act. 

Dying Fetus, the band I was most eagerly awaiting to see, did not disappoint in any manner, shape, or form. Dying Fetus' brand of death metal keeps the old death metal sound alive, yet with the added dimension of technicality rarely witnessed these days. Let me tell you, I had shivers hearing this band. 

Next Step Up, Baltimore's own old school hardcore band, closed out the night with their brand of straight-up old-school hardcore. Although I didn't stay for the entire set I was impressed by the band's ability to stir up energy in the crowd even after ten hours of music. 

Thanks to Karl and Jacque at Recoil Records for making this special day happen. It's the efforts of individuals like Karl and Jacque that keep the scene going in Baltimore/DC - kudos to them for providing opportunities for bands to have a place to play and fans a chance to see their favorite style of music. 

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Copyright 1999 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 23 Aug 2016 22:57:15 -0400.